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IPOs

Legal data firm FiscalNote to list on Nasdaq via $1.3 bn SPAC deal

Company founded by Korean-American aims to raise $275 million to expand businesses

By Nov 09, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

FiscalNote founder and CEO Tim Hwang
FiscalNote founder and CEO Tim Hwang


FiscalNote Holdings Inc., a US legal data and analytics company founded by a Korean-American, is set to go public in a deal valued at $1.3 billion.

FiscalNote said on Nov. 8 that it would merge with Duddell Street Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), to list on the Nasdaq in the first quarter of 2022 under the ticker symbol “NOTE.”

The big data firm aims to raise $275 million including a $100 million private placement in public equity. It plans to use the proceeds to expand businesses as well as mergers and acquisitions (M&As).

FiscalNote was founded in 2013 by Tim Hwang, a Korean-American businessman, along with his Chinese-American friends, when he studied at Princeton University.

TO SEEK MORE ACQUISITIONS

Based in Washington DC, the company provides insights and data on government activity and impact by leveraging proprietary artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced technologies embedded in its workflow software to collect and analyze global legislative, regulatory, and geopolitical data for clients around the world. Its clients included not only US government bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), but also private companies such as Tesla and Netflix.

FiscalNote, which generates revenue from subscription fees, posted $99.8 million in sales last year.

It expanded its businesses through acquisitions. In 2018, it took over Washington political publication CQ Roll Call from the Economist Group at $180 million. In September, it acquired an artificial intelligence company Forge.AI, Inc.

FiscalNote aims to extend its client base to new industries such as cryptocurrencies, electric vehicles, autonomous driving and clouds since new business models are causing conflicts of interest with laws made in the past. New regulations such as ones related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) also increased uncertainties over the business. It plans to invest in big data in the legislative sector after the listing.

Its key shareholders include Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Jerry Yang, billionaire venture capitalist and Yahoo Inc.'s co-founder. Singapore state-owned investor Temasek Holdings and S&P Global are also among them, while some of South Korea’s institutional investors joined its pre-IPO.

Among them, Cuban, Yang and S&P Global will stay as major shareholders, FiscalNote said.

Write to Ye-Jin Jun at ace@hankyung.com

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.

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